In-form Walsden sides are gunning for Norden

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Walsden go head to head with Norden at first and second team level on Saturday in two crucial title battles in the Central Lancashire League.

The clubs have dominated both competitions so far this season and Norden narrowly have their noses in front in both league tables.

Walsden will be looking to grab the initiative this weekend, when they will have home advantage for the first team match.

James Rawlinson’s side have won the only first team meeting so far this season and will look to inflict more damage prior to the pair’s Lancashire Cup semi-final on a date yet to be finalised.

Norden strengthened considerably for 2014 and are also through to Sunday’s Wood Cup final, against Littleborough at Werneth.

Walsden will be hoping Saturday’s visitors will have one eye on the cup final and spokesman Kenny Gale said Norden were “very much the team to beat” this year.

Walsden expect both their teams to be close to full strength and both notched doubles last weekend.

The firsts crushed Heywood by 162 runs at Scott Street on Saturday, piling up 316 for six after being sent in to bat.

Rawlinson (51) and Nick Barker (61) put on 119 for the second wicket and pro Umesh Karunaratne then hit 101 not out,his first ton for the club.

Riaz Pathan(34) put on 106 with the Sri Lankan and Joe Gale slammed a quickfire 32 to send the total to what is believed to be a club record for a limited overs match.

Jamie Shackleton then blew away Heywood’s top three - which included the prolific Bobby Cross and Lancashire’s Andrea Agathangelou - and after a spell of resistance Josh Gale (three for 20) wrapped up the innings for 154.

Walsden racked up 268 for five at Royton and completed a 145-run success.

Riaz Pathan (58) and Karunaratne (64) put on 75 for the third wicket and Joe Gale then thumped 87 not out, hitting the ball hard and straight.

Gale’s brother Josh took four for 20 - including the scalp of South African Pieter Malan for the top score of 39 - and Karunaratne four for 38 as Royton folded from 87 for two to 123 all out.

Walsden seconds beat Heywood a little more comfortably than the 11-run margin suggests on Saturday.

They followed up with a four-wicket win at Unsworth, where a 109-run stand between Jon Lord (86) and Dan Bailey (55) was crucial in their pursuit of 197 to win.

Walsden CC are to start girls cricket training, to run alongside the already popular training involving the boys.

During August there will be five sessions coached by Walsden CC and Lancashire player Shannon Jackson.

“I’m really excited about offering girls-only cricket. We’re hoping to build it up and play some games against other girls teams” added Shannon.

The sessions, for 7-11 year old girls, will be held at Scott Street at 6.30pm-8pm on Fridays from August 1 to 29.

The regular junior training has switched to Fridays during August on the same dates as above with 5-11 year olds at 5.30pm and the under 11s, 13s and 15s will train from 6:30.